Artificial
Intelligence:

The promise, the challenge and how it will help deliver potatoes

AI has replaced social and blockchain as the technology adjunct de jour. Once there was search, then there was social search. Now there is AI search. James McCobb - Partner, Digital - discusses how AI can add value and what the future may look like.


What is AI?

So what is artificial intelligence and how is it different from human intelligence? At its simplest, artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence demonstrated by machines, which is different from natural intelligence demonstrated by humans. It makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks.

More often it is used as a collective description for a host of technologies that appear to mimic human capabilities such as learning, problem solving, coherent talking and meaningful listening.

But for many AI is still just voice search on Alexa or Siri.

How can AI add real value?

It’s easy to miss that the ‘A’ is as important as the ‘I’. Being Artificial means AI is great at doing the things that machines do well such as repetitive tasks at scale, improving logistics, reviewing legal documents and analysing financial data.

And this is where AI can add value and be a boon to businesses.

Here at MerchantCantos we are looking at how AI can help people understand financial information. Using voice and natural language search linked with graph database technology is a powerful way for the uninitiated to better understand the financial fundamentals of the companies they have invested in.

What does the future look like?

Of course, no emerging technology trend isn’t without its problems. It’s when AI forgets the ‘Artificial’ aspect (or ignores it entirely) and tries to be more human that difficulties arise. Microsoft’s racist chat bot Tay is a case in point.

It’s vital to realise that human intelligence and creativity are still irreplaceable and if you want your AI to work well at scale, it’s best done with humans still very much in the mix. For the more technically minded there is a great TWiML&AI podcast where Bee-Chung from LinkedIn tells us how they blend people and AI to create the best services.

Companies cannot afford to overlook the emerging trends in AI, especially now that it has become so much more accessible through the likes of Microsoft Cognitive Service and Amazon Machine Learning.

While AI will change our world, it won’t be as Skynet or Hal as many of the more sensationalist articles would have us believe. However, it will vastly improve the way parts are delivered for our cars, potatoes arrive in our supermarkets and help those who have no idea what EBITDA means.

For more information, please contact James McCobb, Partner, Digital, MerchantCantos.